SHE stood before him, tall and fair
And gracious, on that summer’s day,
With June’s first roses in her hair,
And on her cheek the bloom of May.
But rosy cheek, and dimpled chin,
And raven lashes drooping low,
Conceal the answer he would win:
It might be Yes; would it be No?
Ah, if ’t were No — his throbbing heart
Stood fairly still with sudden pain;
And if ’t were Yes, the world so wide
His deep content could scarce contain.
So wondrous fair! how could she stoop
To favor such a one as he?
Ah, sweet suspense that still leaves hope!
Ah, pain of sad uncertainty!
He held her hand so white and small,
And moved to press it with his lips,
But changed his mind, and let it fall,
With chillest touch of finger tips,
And took the seat she offered him
Upon the sofa by her side,
Nor made the space between them less,
Which seemed so narrow, yet so wide.
Then gazing on the perfect face,
The dimpled mouth, the serious eyes,
And drinking in with eager ears
The music of her low replies,
He let the bright hours drift away,
Nor told the secret of his heart,
But when the shadows lengthened lay,
Rose, all reluctant, to depart.
And stammered forth, with blushing cheek,
An eager, timorous request
That she, for old acquaintance’ sake,
Would grant the rosebud from her breast.
She gave it him, with downcast eyes,
And watched him leave her, with a sigh.
“ So good,” she said, “ so true, so wise;
Ah me, if he were not so shy!”
Lucy Lee Pleasants.